Letter to the editor
The issue of national identity cards as a means of raising the bar and verifying that we are who we say we are has arrived. Whether the president or this Congress wish to pass the issue along is clearly up to them.
There are no guarantees, however. No one can guarantee there will not be further attacks either from within our nation or externally based. It is likely that the real threat to America and Americans will go on for the next 20 years. The threat of terrorism represents a significant perception that conventional diplomacy and politics will not resolve certain global issues peacefully. There is no denying this.
Nor can anyone guarantee that a national ID system will be (a) maintained and built properly, (b) used in a nondiscriminatory fashion, or (c) become something other than an internal passport. It is also impossible to claim that it will not do some good, especially if one believes the perception of threat to be significant enough and therefore likely to be realized.
About 100 nations of every description use a national ID card, and all of the aforementioned pluses and minuses with regard to these systems are borne out.
Therefore, I suggest we continue our debate with respect to this issue, for as an issue it is clear that its time has come. It is important to establish certain ground rules with regard to our personal liberties, but recognize that while these times seem unusual to us today; they will seem quite normal in a year or five. Terror is here to stay, and not debating this issue will not make it go away.
Ivan Schwartz Brooklyn, N.Y.